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tv   Dateline NBC  NBC  May 6, 2013 2:00am-3:01am PDT

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she had this look of absolute terror on her face. she was scared. she really, really was afraid, and i doesn't know why. >> she was a sunny, free spirit who had yearned to make it in hollywood. but she made headlines, instead, when she vanished. >> she was gone. her pets were gone. >> i knew something happened. >> did something drive her away? or maybe someone. there was that old friend turned enemy. >> they seemed to be very passionate about hating each other. >> there was the young man, a man of mystery. >> he said i'm not what people think i am. i wonder what that means.
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>> ton, police are on the trail from her beach resort on the atlantic to the deep woods near the pacific. >> i told her, this could end up killing you. >> a brother ancestor desperate to learn the truth. a keith morrison mystery, the stranger. at first in her favorite place, the private beach club. tok a little longer for the story to spread up and down the historic streets of this oldest of american cities. until it reached the ears of this woman. >> this one was definitely one of the most bizarre. one day her car, she was gone. her pets were gone. >> the she justine is talking about is a local fixture here in st. augustine, a certain blood of a certain age named brittany who had without a word to anyone
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up and vanished. hardly a big is story at first. after all, people do come and go around st. augustine. and this was july of 2010. heat ratcheting up. maybe a good time to head north? >> as the weeks went on it got a little bit strange. >> a little bit strange? in fact, the disappearance of brittany was about to become the biggest and strangest story of her career. not just that she'd disappeared, but a day that was important for her. the day that she was to appear in court and bring charges against a bitter enemy. >> she had an enormous amount of anxiety. >> this is great any's sister pat. she couldn't could much about her sister's worries, couldn't help her confront her nemesis in court. but brittany was pretty good at looking after herself.
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>> we were polar opposites. i was more academically oriented than she was and more staid and anlit cal. she was very and ill and athletic, and i wasn't. so i spent my childhood follower her up trees and creeks and she could do it and i couldn't. >> andrew, one of brittany's three brothers kept track of her from his place up in the northeast. >> she marched to the beat of her own drum. >> they had to consider the possibility that brittany had decided to try something new. >> she had a sense of inventing herself, her whole life. >> like the time she went to hollywood years ago. wanted to be a move eye star. >> she wanted certain things in life. and she thought if she believed in herself and went out and tried, she would get those things. >> didn't get those things up to
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now at least. but she had some family money, settled comfortably in st. augustine, took up photography, sold real estate, bought a nice house and joined a private beach club where she developed a group of very close friends, for example brenda. >> the thing about brittany, she was a single woman, living on her own. and i thought she was very strong and very brave. yeah. she had money. she didn't have to worry about that. but, still, you know, she had to create a life for herself, a social environment. she was interesting. she wasn't boring. >> joanna simmons was also a friend from the club. >> i invited her to come to choir one night at this church that i was going to. and she came and seemed to really enjoy it. so she joined the choir. >> was she a spiritual woman? >> i think she had a very much of a spiritual side to her. >> they enjoyed her personality. she could be very sparkly and
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vivacious. i was impressed that she had so many friend whose cared about her. >> so because brittany's family lived so far away it was her friends who first tried to solve the puzzle of her absence. >> i called a few times and i didn't hear anything. then thursday came and i called thursday. and i knew thursday that something happened. >> so brenda called brittany's family and they asked her to go around to the house. and frankly looking at the place from the outside she didn't see any sign of foul play. back in portland, brittany's sister pat didn't know what to do. >> i had a long time friend who's a police officer. so i called him and said what do we do? he said get a locksmith, send brenda back with a locksmith and have her go into the house. >> which, by now, several days
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after brittany dropped out of sight brenda did and inside nothing seemed amis, although she had apparently taken some of her pets, her two little dogs. >> her dogs were gone. >> but brittany also had cats, and they were still in the house, alone. >> one of the doors was open for the cats to go in and out. >> some people do that, it's true. but brittany? >> my sister loved her cats very, very much and he would never just go away on a trip and heave them to fend for themselves. >> where had brittany gone? why would she take her dogs, leave her cats and take off, vanish on the very day she was all set to appear in court to resolve a bitter feud? a feud which she told her family kept her in constant fear. >> it was very strange that all of a sudden the day she was supposed to be in court now she's gone. coming up. what was brittany running from? and did this free spirit
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how about there? ♪ h-o-t-w-i-r-e... ♪ hotwire.com something was off. something very wrong here in the druping heat of the st. augustine summer. friends of brittany have been unable to reach her for several days. >> everybody that knows brittany knows that she would never just take up and leave like that without telling me. >> so brittany's family, frantic but far away in opposite corners of the country, called a
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locksmith, asked brittany's friends to go inside her house, have a look around. and the place seemed perfectly normal, except one or two little things didn't quite make sense. >> there was some anomalies like the air conditioner was blasting. she would never have left the air conditioner blasting. >> there was another thing that wasn't quite right. one of the friends was tim martin. >> she was a little uporganized it looked like somebody was going there. >> somebody had fixed the place up. >> the good news was everything was tidy. there was no sign of a crime scene, the bad news is the home looked too clean. >> it could be that brittany cleaned the place more it thoroughly than usually and left the back door open for the cats. the police told the family in the absence of foul play there
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wasn't much they can do. there's no law against a young woman taking off without telling any one. >> we hired a private investigator who started looking around to try to find something ha would get the police involved in the case. >> the pi made inquiries. over the next few days brittany's family did their own investigation and found a few brittanyesque secrets. >> we didn't know that over the years, eight different homeless people lived in her spare room. she usually had an arrangement with these fellows that they would help her with stuff. the first guy helped with the yard work. she would never tell us that, because of course we would say bad idea, you know. you can't just invite strangers to live in your house, you know. >> that's a very interesting thing that a single woman living on her open would do. >> show wasn't really practical. the risk of it, either she would have dismissed it or maybe that was what was interesting about it. but i think shy really liked the idea of helping people.
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>> it's kind of like bringing home a bird with a broken wing and you're going to fix it or something like that and make it right. >> well, she also grew up in a family where serving people and serving the poor was part of the environment that we lived in. >> brittany had recently been hosting a handsome young man named joe robbers whom she'd met at a barnes & noble store. >> she was trying to start up some enterprise, and he was going to help her do the commuter work. >> she was a doting land lady. joe got new clothes and a computer. >> joanne, i want you to meet the guy in the hot tub. he's so nice. >> he seemed like he could be my brother, my younger brother. he just seemed like a nice guy and he really wanted to try. >> accepted him as somebody brittany was trying to help and
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who might help her. >> very charming. i thought he was well-mannered. he thought the girls were real shallow his age. that they wanted to go ut o and have one nightstands. and he didn't want to be involved in relationships like that. he really wanted sincere relationships with women. >> in addition to which, he was, those women could see, a bit of a hotty. and you know how fwosip can be. >> he stayed in the master bedroom? where did she stay. >> she had a room over by the pool, the swimming pool. she liked to listen to the fountain at night. it helped her sleep. >> there had speculation there was something romantic or sexual about inviting this young man in. >> i joked with her about it. she would always say, no. he likes meggen fox. i'm too old. >> still, who really knew what
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went on behind closed doors. anyway, they couldn't ask joe. he never stayed anywhere re long and he wasn't around to shed light on his exlandlady's disappearance. so now brittany's family asked the obvious question. was there anyone here in st. augustine who might want to arm brittany. and the answer was a resounding yes. friends like joanna simmons told how at the beach club before she disappeared brittany seemed terrified. >> i saw her one day leaving the hot tub area to go into the pool. she had this look of absolute terror on her face. >> why brittany was tarefied began with a weird story. about a woman she gotten to know. her name is ann. >> everybody knew brittany. and if she stopped you, she'd want to chet chat and get into
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your life. >> you couldn't get away from her. >> no. she's a busybody. >> and if ann doesn't speak very kindly of brittany now, you have to understand it was very different in the beginning. then they were friendly enough to become partners in a dog breeding venture. >> she wanted to breed huey with one of mine. >> but then complications. brittany began a row manse with a fellow named billy, a friend of ann's and her husband's. and billy moved right in and everything was hunky-dory until -- love is unpredictable. in this case, it didn't last. >> they got into some stupid fight. so billy calls up and says i'm coming to get my stuff. and she said come by yourself. >> but billy didn't go there alone. he was accompanied by ann and her husband. >> brittany said don't come in the house. and they came in. >> she was cussing and screaming and whatever. and i said okay. i'm leaving. >> what happened?
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>> she hit me over the head with a wine bottle. she was sitting on top of me strangling me. and michael and billy called her off. >> two sides to every story, of course. brittany said ann and her two men refused to leave. >> you would think, that's her house. if i say get out of my house, you should leave my house. >> and yes, it was true, they fought, said brittany. but in her report to police, brittany claims he didn't start it. in fact, after the fight subsided it was brittany who called the police to accuse anne of assaulting her. but -- >> they came back and arrested brittany. >> arrested brittany? but why her? >> she admit thad she put her hand on anne's throat and they arrested her based on that. >> they charged brittany with battery. she spent the night in jail. >> it was a very traumatic experience. she called me up crying. >> in corps, brittany was
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sentenced to probation, anger management classes, community service and a one year order to stay away from anne. but anne oddly perhaps chose to be closer to brittany. she and her husband joined brittany's sanctuary, the beach club. >> i felt bad for her. because she was able to find peace and able to socialize there. and all of a sudden, here they show up in the hot tub all the time. >> and before long, the conflict, the growing fear was all brittany could talk about. >> she was fearful for her life. and i told her, this could end up killing you. >> coming up. did brittany's terror drive her hundreds of miles away? >> her dogs were found roaming the streets. they were following her credit card transactions. no
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>> coming up.
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what a respite was the beach club. what a lovely perch from which to enjoy the brilliant sun, the warm, soothing current. but on those summer days in 2010, events at the beach club were perhaps a little too warm. day after day, the sworn enemies faced each other across swimming pools and hot tubs. and all the while, brittany sooeted with an expanding collection of incidents heaped on her by anne. >> i was like brittany, can't you just let this go? and she couldn't let go of it. it was an obsession, actually. >> brittany accused anne of keying her car. so she began carrying around a video camera as a kind of visual
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body guard, until the day when anne, tired of being taped swam over to the camera, at that point pool side, inside brittany's bag. >> yes, and i knocked the camera in the pool. she pushed my buttons. she went around telling the whole neighborhood, everybody, i'm scared for my life. >> it was after the dunking of the video camera that brittany launched legal action against anne. by this time she'd invited joe roberts into her house. so she enlisted his help to create a dvd. when she got to court she was going to show the judge just how dangerous she thought anne was. >> i think all her friends made clear she was quite traumatized by this. she was very, very much afraid of this ann. ? the court date was wednesday, july 7th, 2010. the morning arrived. anne came with her attorney, sat in court, waiting.
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and waiting. and brittany? did not show. no, that was the very day she disappeared. a convenient reprepare for anne in bizarre says justine, in light of how important that court date was to brittany. >> she had become very obsessed with this restraining order. she was making sure this restraining order was going through. >> perhaps brittany was abrade to show up. afraid of what might happen. >> these were not necessarily genteel ladies. >> no. no. they seemed to be very passionate about hating each other, especially toward the end. >> so in the days following bris any's disappearance, some people wondered just how much anne knew or what she might have to do with it. after all, if anybody had a motive, it was anne. all the anger and emotion and bitterness, had it culminated
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with a violent confrontation. >> were they looking at you, the media? >> of course. i already had the news and helicopters and all that, you know, filming the front of my house. >> the local police department got wind of it, of course. >> that's basically where detectives started asking questions. >> but not very many questions. and not for long. in fact, according to anne, there was really only one thing those detectives asked her. did she know anything about where her archenemy had gone. >> what did you tell them? >> i hadn't seen her. that's all we need to know. never heard from them again. >> and poof, just like that. the police ruled out any involvement on the part of anne. there were other reasons, too, for doing that. one was that brittany was just fine the day before she failed to show up in court. >> they had surveillance foot and at this gas station that showed her getting out of her car, putting gas na it and
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driving away. nothing unusual. >> and between the time that video was recorded on july 6th and court the next morning, it turned out anne had an unassailable alibi. so what could brittany's family do? for all their efforts, they couldn't persuade the police that a crime had occurred. that something bad may have happened to brittany, unless the investigation stopped. so those who loved brittany had no choice but to follow what leads there were on their own. >> we were keeping cool heads and being vigilant and trying to do everything possible, coaxing them to do things they hadn't done. did my sister go on a cruise? did she leave town for a week or something. search this area. you haven't searched this area. why haven't you done this? >> but they also hire add private investigator. and they had an idea. if they couldn't find brittany, maybe they could find her dogs. >> we checking the bounds, doing
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anything and everything we could imagine. >> word about the dogs spread. and a week after brittany's disappearance a call came in and what do you snow. >> a tiny white dog. >> it looked like a rabbit at first. >> her dogs were found in columbia, south carolina without collars. >> how did they manage to connect two dogs in columbia to her? >> she had the microchips implanted in her dogs and the veterinarians were able to scan them and figure out they belonged to brittany. >> now all of a sudden the case broke loose. now one of the dogs is found two or three states away. no tags. now finally, there's probable cause. there's no question. that was a key, a key break. >> that was enough to get the police involved. but unfortunately, at that point, it was 11 days after she disappeared. >> finally, st. augustine police took over from the band of
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amateur sleuths. pat flew to florida to do what she could to help. met with the police, did the rounds of local media. tried to keep the search for her sister front and center in the public's mind. >> the family ruled out long agony possibility that this is a purely innocent departure for her. this is not possible that she would abandon her pets and stop calling her friends. >> i really felt there was a short, a brief window of opportunity while there was still some publicity of the case. then people will move on. there will be other stories. >> quite reasonable story, especially when the search for brittany seemed to be going nowhere. >> her picture had been everywhere. -she been anywhere, somebody in florida, somebody would have seen her picture. that's why we started to think she really has disappeared. >> and then suddenly, a break. until two weeks after brittany disappeared, the police finally picked up her trail.
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looked like he was on a long, winding road trip. what they found were her credit card transactions which headed north to south carolina where her dogs were found. >> they were following her credit card transactions. there were transactions in north carolina, idaho, oregon. >> the question was, is brittany alone? or was she with someone else? was she the driver? a willing passenger? or was there something else going on? and what about that young drifter who disappeared along with brittany. >> he said i'm not what people think i am. and i thought, i wonder what that means. in addition to dust, you might find a little latte. ♪ and maybe something beastly. mixed in with the dust, you may even find some pixie sneezes. compared to a dry duster, a can of pledge picks up more dust and cleans 100% of messes. pledge multi surface. dusts better. cleans more.
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a spouse is late for dinner. a teenager stays out all night. the awful sinking feeling when a loved one is out of touch. usually everything rights itself, but not for the family of brittany. they found themselves stuck fast in the purgatory of missing persons. the place where families must go to wait. for what, they do not know. >> you alternate between it's not real. it isn't really happening. to having these terrible, terrible moments where you
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realize that something irreversible has happened. >> brittany's two little dogs had been found abandoned by the side of the road, three states away in south carolina. brittany loved those dogs, would never abandon them. and yet, the credit card record made it look like she had done exactly that, that she'd been driving her car clear across the country. at last, a nationwide alert was issued for brittany's car. now with the whole nation's law enforcement on watch, the answer to what happened to brittany should not be long in coming. the family heldity collective breath and waited and hoped. >> we're dealing with the bank authorities. they're talking to the police. if there's any activity, one guy had a pager on him with one of the cards. if anything tries to put anything through on this card, the guy's pager's going to go off. >> now the marshals and fbi have
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involved. the attention turned to the guy that had been living at her house. joe roberts. it seems that joe disappeared around the time time that brittany disappeared. and police had to consider the distinct possibility that brittany had washed her handles of the feud with anne and taken off on a cross country trip with young joe. for justine griffen, that even made the story more interesting. >> i mean, living in her house for free, so. >> makes you think, doesn't it? >> they thought maybe the two of them had just left, had just gone on a trip together, left town. >> it was all speculation. nobody had a clue what those two did. and then another lucky break. or it seemed lucky. the good news, in mid july, police found out that just four days after brittany vanished, a cop stopped her toyota on a highway out west, but brittany wasn't driving. joe was. >> july 11th, robberts was
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stopped by police in wyoming for speeding. >> the bad news, the cop stopped the car before the alert went out. he wasn't looking for the car or brittany or anybody. he said i didn't recall seeing a passenger, but then he wasn't looking for one. >> they let him go with a warning. >> and now that car and whoever was in it is long gone. but that stop triggered a serious effort to find joe roberts. >> it was after that, that they had released an arrest warrant for him with grand theft charges. >> so the investigation took a turn. the police hoping that finding roberts would lead to finding brittany. once again, her family went to the public for hip. >> what we really need is for the broadest possible audience of people to be looking for joseph roberts. that's the linchpin. >> the police went on tv too, hoping to raise public
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awareness. >> we believe the car's going to relate to people more so than him, because it's a rav4, dark blue vehicle with florida tags. he pretty much can blend in with any crowd. >> trouble was police soon discovered that after a few days after brittany disappeared, the credit card trail abruptly ended. they must have stopped using the card. and without the credit card trail, the police had no idea where roberts and brittany were now or if they were even still together. and if not, where was she? and what was he up to? >> what we're concerned about is did he meet someone else at a coffee shop? and is he living in someone else's house now? and that's why it's important to get this story out as much as possible. >> and all that effort finally produced another break, or what seemed like a break and justine's next big story. police discovered somebody caught roberts on videotape,
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just four days after he and brittany disappeared. >> there was surveillance footage of him walking into a walmart in ontario, oregon and him buying a tent and some clothes. >> just him. no brittany. but, again, by the time somebody found the walmart video and got it to the florida police, roberts was nowhere to be found. >> so they had alerted police in that area. had started putting out fliers. it looked like once he got to the walmart, he was going to go off the grid with his tent to live in the woods. >> but just who was this kid anyway? what was his story before brittany took him in? a lesson in recent history seemed in order. the curious story of young joe roberts. >> he said to me something really interesting, which i thought was kind of stopped me for a send. he goes i'm not what people think i am. and i thought, wonder what that means. coming up, that strange and
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charming drifter, was he hiding a shady past? >> the more i got to know him the more he started scaring me. when dateline continues. thanks, other merv. mr. clean magic eraser extra power was three times faster on permanent marker. elsewhere against dirt, it was a sweep, with scuffed sports equipment... had it coming. grungy phones... oh! super dirty! and grimy car rims... wow! that really works! ...all taking losses. it looks like mr. clean has won everything. the cleaning games are finished? and so are we. okay, but i just took a mortgage out on the cabinet. [ male announcer ] clean more, work less, with the mr. clean magic eraser extra power. but thanks to hotwire, this year we got to take an extra trip. because they get us ridiculously low prices
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it's a strange thing, rather cruel actually, how an answer so desperate lay sought can slip
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away. police had finally sniffed out the trail left by joe roberts. the one person who seemed to know what happened to brittany. but before think could catch up to joe, he was gone in a puff of oregon fog. >> investigators had alerted police and law enforcement all the way up through washington, past seattle and the pacific northwest, because they thought he was headed in that direction. >> meanwhile, investigators warned brittany's family. >> what they were telling me, he had a history of falling off the radar screen. >> and sure enough, that's just what i did. and days turned into weeks. summer turned into fall. no sign of him. police suspicions turned darker. >> i think it's important for us here in florida not to lose interest and putting it off as this guy's it 2,000 miles away, because he still might be in our back yard or coming back to our back yard for all we know. >> hive went on for the rest of the world, but not for those who loved brittany, and who knew
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full well that time is not on the side of the missing. >> i did feel that the more time went on, the less likely we would be to find him. >> brittany's family found themselves in limbo, a barren landscape shared by more people than you thought was possible. >> there are hundreds of thousands of missing persons. all heart breaking stories. and you're just a number in a pool of people who are going through this or who have gone through this. >> back in florida, police had been digging up everything they could find about joe roberts. as crime reporter justine griffen learned, joe had been on the road, roaming the country, ran out of money about the time he got to st. august stine, where he began living off the kindness of local women. >> he came here and got a job working as a clerk at a kangaroo gas station.
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he would sleep in his car. this is how he got to know a few other women in st. augustine. >> one of them was a co-worker named cheryl davenport. cheryl invited him to her place, put him in a spare bedroom right down the hall from cheryl and her two little children. >> he was a nice guy. he was always really good around the kids. >> so cheryl wasn't worried about joe, no reason to be. >> joe has too much of a pretty boy face. wasn't very intimidating really. i think i was more intimidating than i was. >> but then cheryl began to tell us some more disturbing things about joe. >> he told me that the reason why he left home, he had run some type of internet scheme to where he was getting people's credit card numbers and stuff like that. and they had found out. and so he took off. >> he confessed this to you. >> yeah. and he said that him and his family don't get along because they believe he has mental issues. severely messed up in the head
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and that he was convinced he didn't have issues. >> when he moved in, said cheryl, he told her he used to have a drug problem but swore he'd dayed clean, certainly at least while living with cheryl and her family. >> he actually looked for a job for the first month. and then he slowly just got lazier and lazier. >> what was he doing? >> he was going on drug binges. that's when the anger came out. the more i got to know him the more he started scaring me and i started upsetting me. >> and that's when she demanded that joe get out of her house. >> and he was this chose to my face and went like this like he was going to punch me in the face. and i was like, joe, i swear to god, if you hit me, i will take you down. >> so he left and found brittany. who, police would learn, told her friends not long before she disappeared that she was getting a little exasperated with joe
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too. >> she said ha she would come home, and he would have gone through her stuff and that they got in a few little fights. i was kind of worried. i asked her about them, she would go no, it's okay, it's okay. >> did you warn her? >> i did. i warned her about having people into her house. >> and now? still no word. >> we still didn't stop believing that there was a chance that she was alive. >> police rededicated their efforts to find the elusive joe roberts. >> we've run out of leads, frankly, when it comes to his trail going west. it's less populated than we are. and if he doesn't have his vehicle on the road and he's keeping a low profile, hopefully somebody will see him when he goes for provisions or groceries. and that's when we want to turn up the heat on him. we are looking for him. and there's no question about that. >> and then, sure enough. >> we figured it would be something trite or petty that he'd get caught for. sure enough, that's what
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happened. coming up, the drifter makes a mistake. and brittany's family [ female announcer ] now get high speed internet at home on our newly expanded advanced digital network, a connection you can count on. at&t u-verse high speed internet offers more speed options, reliability and wi-fi hotspots than ever. go to our website below to get u-verse high speed internet for just $14.95 a month for 12 months with a one-year price guarantee. it's all the speed you need all at a great price. our newly expanded advanced digital network gives you more of what you enjoy online. and with at&t, our wireless gateway turns your home into a private wi-fi hotspot that connects your wi-fi devices and can even save on your smart phone data usage at home. go to our website below to get at&t u-verse high speed internet for just $14.95 a month for 12 months with a one-year price guarantee. that includes access on-the-go to our entire national wi-fi hotspot network, with over 30,000 hotspots. at&t u-verse high speed internet.
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for three long months, brittany was just missing. and all the searching since by agencies from the canadian mount eyes to the fbi have produced no sign of brittany or joe robbert, the young border who disappeared with her. >> he was caught in seattle in a grocery store, in the area, trying to steal lunch might. >> his captor was a clerk in a grocery store. >> he wasn't a sheriff. he wasn't a police officer.
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he was somebody that was employed by a grocery store to deter theft. >> but it wasn't until after the seattle police showed up and arrested roberts on the shoplifting charge that they discovered that this was one very wanted man. and so called the police in st. augustine florida. >> sometime we have to count on luck. and sometimes we have to count on their mistake. and in this case, i think he made a mistake. and we had a little luck on our side. >> and then, a little more luck. >> they had found brittany's car parked in like a north seattle library parking lot. the keys had been locked inside of it, actually. >> so the police had the car, but no brittany. it wasn't long before police men from florida were sitting in a seattle interrogation room with young mr. roberts. her family waited again, this time to hear what roberts would say. only he could resolve the mystery. why she'd been out of touch for months.
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>> you always hold out a small amount of hope that she would be alive. and you never give up hope. >> and then, within three hours, there in that police station, joe roberts finally answered the question that had been hanging over everybody half hope, half dread. what happened to brittany. the answer was perhaps the most dreadful story this young crime reporter had yet written. taken right from the confession roberts gave police. >> she woke up early the morning of the court case that something wasn't done correctly or wasn't done at all. she was bugging him, yelling at him. >> why would she do that? >> this whole big argument with joe was him not being able to get this dvd up to perfection about what they were going to take to court. >> the court case against anne that is. and so her friend speculated
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about what happened that last morning of her life. said she must have vented her temper on a man who according to a. >> toer landlady had a drug habit, possible mental health issues and an anger problem. >> i think it got to the point where it got pushed to the point of no return. >> a statement to police, robert says they argued and then brittany went off about something, which is when. >> he grabbed a hammer and hit n her in the head a couple times. >> that anger issue. >> right. she was laying on the kitchen floor bleeding. and in the report he says there was lots and lots of blood, but i guess she didn't die at that point. so he took a knife from the kitchen and slit her throat. at first he tried to stuff her body in the attic of their house, but he said that she was too heavy for him to carryall the way up those tears and then decided he was going to leave town and dump her body in the woods.
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roberts would tell investigators that he brought the dogs with him to buy him some time. because he knew people that knew her well would think it was training that she just left without her animals. >> it was a shock, of course. and then joe robbers answered another question, this one with no good answer. where was brittany? >> she was found on a state road, sort of where some homeless camps in the area, but it's mainly just woods. >> one of the most terrible things would be to know that someone you loved died in fear. you know, died in a moment of terror. and pain. and that was a very, very hard thing for me to accept. there just was, even today, it's just chilling for me to think about that. >> but at least. >> we never would have found the body if he hadn't told us. you know, it was in a forest somewhere. the likelihood, maybe it would show up in 20 years, but we wouldn't have found it. >> but having offered his detailed confession to the
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police, roberts pleaded not guilty to the crime of murder. it's expected the state will try to show evidence of premeditation, will say that roberts intended to commit the crime. >> brittany didn't keep tools in her kitchen. so that was my first thought. where did this hammer come from? and it was very convenient for him to grab-it. >> because his case is be being readied for trial, neither joe roberts or his attorney would speak to dateline. their strategy remains to be seen. and insanity defense? some court observers expect that. or perhaps, self-defense, a claim that brittany attacked him before he killed her. as brittany's family awaits a trial, her friends look after brittany's dogs. >> they're in great shape. happy. healthy. they're really good dogs, you know. brittany would have wanted that. she would have wanted, you know, somebody that loves them to have
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them. >> and her friends mourn. as does her family. >> i guess you have a point from which you move on, but there really isn't closure. and that, actually, is something that the homicide detectives know. there really isn't closure. it's a cliche that people use, but there is no closure. >> brittany lived life on her own terms. naïve maybe, reckless sometimes. and it cost her dearly. >> she just thought she was invincible. she didn't think anything bad would happen. >> that's part of who she was. she did have a very big heart. >> so she did. and lived out loud and was exyou know rant and generous. and for those who loved her is eternally missed for all of those things. >> she was my sister, and i've been robbed of the rest of my life with my sister. i've been robbed of that relationship. i've been robbed of those conversations. i've been robbed of that
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friendship. that's all for now. i'm lester holt. thanks for joining us. this sunday, the president under pressure as he faces a growing debate about how safe we are at home from terror and confronts the political reality of a second term agenda in gridlock. as new details emerge about the boston bomb plot, the administration orders a review about whether the government should have, could have stopped the tsarnaev brothers before they allegedly struck. >> one of the dangers we now face are self-radicalized individuals who are already here in the united states. >> this morning a debate about the debate of your homeland security in a new age of terror. with us, former new york city mayor and u.s. attorney rudy giuliani. republican congressman from arkansas and veteran of the wars in iraq and afghanistan, tom cotton. plus, forler democratic
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congresswoman and ranking member on the house intelligence committee, now president and ceo of the wilson center, jane harman. chairman of the senate judiciary committee, democrat pat leahy of vermont. then president obama at 100 days into his second term. is he a lame duck? >> rumors a little exaggerated at this point. >> jobs. immigrati immigration. health care. syria. the ongoing fights over social issues like abortion and gay rights in america all taking center stage this week. inside and analysis from our special political round table this morning. from nbc news in washington, the world's longest running television program, this is "meet the press" with daid gregory. >> good sunday morning. we want to start with developing stories on a couple different fronts. breaking news this morning out of syria where overnight israeli
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air strikes hit targets in syria for the second time in recent days. news of the first strike coming late friday evening. the president was traveling in latin america. reacting to all this escalation yesterday in an interview with telemundo. >> what i have said in the past, i continue to believe this, the ace re israelis justifiably have to guard against the advancement of weaponry against hezbollah. hezbollah has repeatedly said that they would be willing to attack as far as tel-aviv. so the israelis have to be vigilant and they have to be concerned. and we will continue to coordinate with israel. >> continue to coordinate with israel. andrea mitchell is here. a very important line, isn't it, andrea? here you have the president who's issued a red line to syria saying if they move or use chemical weapons it would change his

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